THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM RETURN TO LONDON WITH A FAN FAVOURITES AND A MORE MUSCULAR SOUND

The Gaslight Anthem (Morris Shamah/Northern Exposure)

LONDON ROUNDHOUSE 26th March 2024

The Gaslight Anthem played their second of three shows at London’s Roundhouse last Tuesday on their Spring 2024 European Tour. This tour follows their latest album, 2023’s History Books, and  while not explicitly promoted as the History Books Tour, which was recently announced for this summer across the United States, these shows present The Gaslight Anthem as they are now – a more muscular, mature band than the beach punks of yesteryear. Gaslight were originally active from 2006 through 2015, before they went on hiatus. They are now back full-time. 

The Gaslight Anthem is made up of Benny Horowitz on drums, Alex Levine on bass, Alex Rosamilia on guitar, and fronted by Brian Fallon on guitar and vocals. They’re rounded out by long time touring guitarist Ian Perkins, and, ever since 2021, an unnamed keyboard player. The additional instrumentation fills out their sound, successfully bringing their older punk songs in line with their newer, more rock-oriented material. Brian Fallon’s current guitar – a Gibson Explorer – helps give some extra crunch and muscle to their tone, as well.

Opening for the reunited New Jersey band on this tour is Emily Wolfe, Texan guitarist and singer-songwriter, who played for a ferocious 40 minutes. A cross between Jack White and Queens of The Stone Age, each of Emily’s drop-c riffs and solos were oil-slick and badass, and she quickly dominated the sold-out crowd. 

The Gaslight Anthem opened their hour-and-a-half set with Spider Bites, the opening song from History Books, but quickly followed that up with a half-dozen classics from their most loved records, including the tour debut of Meet Me At The River’s Edge. From the opening notes of Great Expectations, the crowd exploded, jumping and singing along instantaneously. This is exactly what they came out for on a cold Tuesday night.

They followed up the explosive opening with a cover of Ocean Eyes by Billie Eilish, which they recently released on streaming platforms. The soft, introspective song is reimagined here as riff-and-howls rocker,which comes as close as Gaslight ever have to heavy metal. Brian’s new guitar helps, of course.

Ocean Eyes was followed by another tour debut and fan favourite in Halloween, and Here’s Looking At You, Kid, performed as a duet alongside London’s own Blue Violet. Also present, the Handwritten outtake Blue Dahlia, a real embarrassment of riches for the Gaslight faithful. Emily Wolfe came out for The Weatherman and Blue Jeans And White T Shirts, as she has every night on this tour. The middle section gave the enthusiastic crowd a chance to catch their breath while also highlighting the dynamics and variety of modern-day Gaslight Anthem. They’re no longer just a punk band – they haven’t been since, arguably, 2012 – but they’re coming into their own as a fully-fledged rock band, finding power in the mid-tempos and letting their music breathe.

Of course, maturity and muscle aside, The Gaslight Anthem still come from the punk of New Jersey basements and pulled into the final third of the show with a return to the high-octane vibes they started with. With the exception of Michigan, 1975, a standout track from the latest record, the rest of the finale all date from 2012 or earlier. The Gaslight Anthem have long done away with encore breaks, preferring instead to barrel through and leave it all on the stage. It works – the crowd energy builds and builds, and by the ending trio of 45, The ‘59 Sound, and The Backseat, circles opened up, bodies were in the air, and beer and sweat came pouring down, just like it used to.

Setlists:

The Gaslight Anthem

  • Spider Bites
  • Great Expectations
  • American Slang
  • Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
  • Meet Me by the River’s Edge
  • Handwritten
  • We Came to Dance
  • Ocean Eyes
  • Halloween
  • Here’s Looking at You, Kid (with Blue Violet)
  • Keepsake
  • Autumn
  • Blue Dahlia
  • Old Haunts
  • The Weatherman (with Emily Wolfe)
  • Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts (with Emily Wolfe)
  • Mulholland Drive
  • The Spirit of Jazz
  • Michigan, 1975
  • Miles Davis and the Cool
  • 45
  • The ’59 Sound
  • The Backseat

Emily Wolfe

  • Ghost Limb Gambler
  • Dead End Luck
  • The Slider
  • Silencer
  • Hopeless in Panorama
  • Rock Bottom on a High Wire
  • Something Better 
  • Atta Blues 
  • Holy Roller